Cassolette d’Escargots aux Champignons, a traditional dish in France, much loved by many gourmets. Escargots have been a prized delicacy for their buttery flavor since Roman times. They are very popular in France, Spain, and Portugal whether as an appetizer of a sophisticated dinner or as a part of a simple farmer’s meal. Contrary to much advice, there is no need to buy fresh ones. The reality is, that many restaurants rely on canned snails.
Carne de Porco à Alentejana, a popular stew of pork and clams from the south of Portugal, the Algarve and Alentejo regions. A burst of flavors, a true representative of Portuguese cooking. The photo was taken from our holiday apartment on Madeira, where I cooked this dish.
Agnello con Carciofi, a traditional dish, dearly loved in Italy. Braising lamb with artichokes in a rich tomato herb sauce is an elegant way to present it. A winning combination for sure. Creamy polenta or a nice crusty farm bread completes the delight.
The essence of this dish is the combination of sweet and hot elements. Avoid the urge to cook the lamb too quickly. The slow, gentle cooking is the key to a tender and juicy stew with an almost glaze-like sauce.
Serve it with Harissa, the hot chili paste that is a hallmark of North African cooking, available at Whole Foods and most Middle Eastern stores.
Fagioli con Cotechino, a hearty dish from the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. Cotechino, also spelled Cotecchino, is a fresh pork sausage. It’s made from lean pork and cooked pork skins, the “cotene”, which gives it its name. It is spiced with cloves, cinnamon and garlic. You find it also in Bollito Misto, that classic Northern Italian dish of mixed boiled meats.
Ragoût d’Agneau aux Endives is a favorite from Southern France. The dish gets its special kick from the Endives (aka Chicory or Belgian Endives).
The Sisteron region in the Provence is famous for its production of yearling lamb. The Alpine meadows gives their meat a special taste.